Home church/children's ministry Can Church Be Both?

Can Church Be Both?

by Kelly Crawford

I posted this response to the question…”can church both equip the saints and evangelize the lost?”

“….I’m trying to bend our minds around something, though, that is a rather foreign and lost concept…The “church” as in the body of Christ, is everywhere at all times. The physical “church” as in the building we meet in on Sundays, is one tiny part of that. The physical church building is a place of worship and equipping.

Here’s what I see as a big problem…hear me out…

Unbelievers can’t worship.

Now before everyone gets upset with me for being an “exclusivist“…remember, the physical place of worship on Sundays is a small part of the Great Commission. A very important part, but it’s not the sum total of the Christian life. I think we have this picture that if we say “church is for Christians” then we must be saying, “we don’t care about the lost”. NOOOO!!!!! Quite the opposite!

The meeting of believers on Sunday is a vital part of bringing their sacrifices (both praise and tithes) to the house of the Lord, and then receiving instruction in sound doctrine. That’s all it ever was in Scripture. Once we try to make it a place to evangelize the lost, we inevitably weaken the very foundation of its purpose. Both in undermining our worship practices (now we must be more seeker-friendly) and in encroaching upon the family to take part in all the extra programs.

Whereas if we would let church be what it was meant to be, the families (and individuals) could thrive and grow and be rooted and grounded for the work of the Great Commission the other 6 days of the week.

Church must be our refuge…our place of refueling, gearing up, reinforcing our lives to be able to do the Kingdom work at hand.

Does this make sense?

You may also like


Terry @ Breathing Grace July 23, 2008 - 3:05 pm

It makes perfect sense. Too much, I dare say, for the many people who are too busy doing their own thing the other 6 days of the week to be bothered with making disciples. Hence, the current push for the church to split itself between equipping the saints and evangelizing the lost. Not to mention discipling and educating children, and the myriad other roles it has taken on. This is making the church ineffective at accomplishing ANY of these things.

What’s that old saying? Oh yes: A jack of all trades and a master of none.

Anonymous July 23, 2008 - 3:17 pm

Yes! It absolutely makes perfect sense because it lines up with scripture. I did not understand this growing up, and God has been teaching these very things you are discussing here to my husband and me over the past year or more. In fact, almost everything you have pointed out on your blog lately God has been teaching us and growing us in as a family. I am so thankful to see this particular subject regarding what church is/is for being brought up here for thought. Thanks for the encouragement!

Anonymous July 23, 2008 - 5:18 pm

I don’t agree that we should keep our worship services for Christians only. Yes, we should evangelize outside of the church building, too. We should take advantage of every opportunity to preach the Gospel. Yes, some visitors may come into our church buildings who are not dressed properly, etc. And, yes, our children will see them and may be negatively influenced by them. But you cannot, in this world, live beyond the reach of danger. Jesus did not want His followers to be taken out of the world, but to not be spotted by the world. My concern is that we will end up in isolation — home-school, home-church, home-business, and so on. Where we live are many Hutterites. They are like the Amish and Mennonites, only they live communally on colonies. They are farmers. They go off the colony to shop. They have large families, wear plain-dress, and don’t date like other Americans do. I don’t know if they arrange marriages. No TV, radios or newspapers. The children go to school on the colony. The State sends in a teacher so that the kids don’t have to leave the colony. The State accommodates itself to the Hutterite’s religious regs., which includes not attending High School. State teaches them to age 16, when they can legally leave school. The Hutterite children simply repeat 8th grade until they are 16, then are done with school and go to work on the colony. Hutterites still speak German, having come here from Germany in the 1800’s. The State teachers teach them English. My point is, if these people have EVER made a convert, I have never heard of it. If you asked the average person around here, they probably would not even know that the Hutterites are a religious group. I am concerned when I see Christians isolating themselves from society, although of course, you must do everything you can to protect your children from society’s evils. However, the Hutterites are plagued with every evil that the rest of society has. They and their children are sinners, too, like everybody else. Run-aways are a cliche. I’m afraid that if we isolate ourselves so much, we will soon be afraid to touch icky sinners, and we will not convert people, either. While I do not approve of watering down the Gospel or Christians holiness standards just to get people in the doors, nor do I approve of keeping them out so that we will not be contaminated by them. Christians have always tried to create religious utopias, to no avail.It seems to me to be living in fear. We can trust God. Faith that is never tested is no faith at all. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Katherine July 23, 2008 - 5:55 pm

I am reminded of when Jesus turned the water into wine. He was at a wedding party, with people wanting to “party”. Jesus did not turn the water into wine for the sake of “having more wine for the party” he did it to make himself known by his miraculous works and draw them to put their faith in Him. John 2:11 says:
11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

In I Cor. 14 it addresses orderly worship and the appropriate order of the use of spiritual gifts. In vs. 24-25 it says:
24But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Isn’t that what it’s all about? We should go about our church services whether there is a sinner amoung us or not. If there is a sinner, hopefully the Holy Spirit’s convicting power will be present in the service convicting the sinner, whether it’s what the preacher is preaching or if the sinner is convicted by the praise,worship, and holiness of the saints.

Word Warrior July 23, 2008 - 5:55 pm


What you have described in your comment has nothing whatsoever to do with what I’m discussing here. You’re WAY off. As if you’ve only read bits and pieces.

First of all, I wasn’t arguing that sinners coming into the church dressed inappropriately is ever the problem; it’s the members, the Christians, who are not living out modesty and godly living that is the problem.

Secondly, “keeping sinners out” is not the goal; never said that. I said we need to have a biblical model for church–a place of worship for believers to be equpped and allowed to worship in spirit and truth…not a place where the focus of the service is to save the lost…like it or not, that’s not what the church is for. Sinners are always welcome; but just as in Jesus day, unless they are looking for truth, they will not want to dwell very long among it.

It is not our job to woo the sinner through our “special feature” church servies; that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.

Nothing of this argument speaks of isolated lives; (although I agree with your “Hutterites” about forsaking the American dating model 😉

If we would stop looking at the world, stop thinking “our way”, and just look to Scripture for our instructions for living, this would all be so simple.

Furthermore, if we just stopped long enough to see how futile our attempts are…we are more seeker-friendly than ever; have more programs, more ministries and outreach than ever; and yet the rate of people leaving the faith or ever coming to the faith keeps climbing. When will God’s ways just be enough?

Jennie July 23, 2008 - 7:03 pm

Thank you anon#2, I felt like I was alone with the readers of this Blog on this issue! I agree and appreciate your example.
This is from my churches website:
“…we believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission: First, to make individual disciples; Second, to build up the church; Third, to teach and instruct as He has commanded. We do not believe in the reversal of this order…”

You are correct, Word Warrior, that unbelievers cannot worship. That is not the only purpose of church, though. Please provide scriptures that say it is.

I also agree that the other 6 days of the week are crucial to spreading the Gospel. We have to show Christ in our daily lives to the cashier at the grocery store, etc.

We also have outreach on Wednesday night, where we actually have the most unsaved attending our church. Plus Friday night for RU. So, we are using the church building as a place where we can meet and share the gospel with the unsaved. But we are still a part of the Body of Christ when we leave the building. Of course.

Maybe if you only attend church on Sunday morning, you would find it to be a huge sacrifice to teach a Sunday School class, since that is the only time you would have to do the things you mentioned, like praise, tithes, and instruction from the word of God. But most fundamental churches, that accomplish both evangelism (in a non-seeker friendly way) and building up of the believer, have 3+ services a week, offering ample opportunity for all necessary tasks. I am able to attend 2 complete services (Sunday night and Sunday main service) while still working with the Jr High age on Sunday School and Wednesday night hours. Additionally, we can also go to visitation on Thursdays, and RU on Fridays. (RU can serve as a discipleship program for Christians without addiction to drugs or alcohol). My point in saying all this, is there is absolutely no reason why a church cannot function in this way. I will agree that they are few and far between, but they do exist. I say start your own if your area doesn’t offer one, and have the church call a Man of God who holds the doctrines of the bible close to be the Pastor.

I disagree that a church cannot be effective in these dual roles, it is like saying a woman can only be effective as wife or mother, but not both. But as I am sure you are aware, these roles actually compliment one another. (The same goes for learning from the Bible and preaching the Gospel for sinners) if anything, having this organized central resource center if you will, only helps to support us as we go about our task of evangelizing the other 6 days a week.

I do find it interesting that you did not address half of my comments on your last post. I would like to know more about your stance on those points.

Word Warrior July 23, 2008 - 7:58 pm


I reread your first comment, and the only question I can find that I left unanswered was the one about how many people I know have come to the Lord under “my method”. Which is a poor choice of words, because the church model I describe is taken right out of Scripture.

“Your model” may be one that you feel comfortable with, but bear in mind it is not the same one described of the church in the Bible.

“Numbers matter”, you said. Here is where our theology would take a completely opposite turn. And I’m afraid would begin a whole different subject. (And since I’m packing to leave for CO tomorrow, my time is very limited!)

Believing that salvation belongs to the Lord, that we don’t have to count hands, or wring our hands about those He has foreordained and will bring to Himself through our obedience, we don’t see church as a place for numbers. Often numbers are only that; and leaves people with nothing more than a false perception of what they think is salvation. Scary.

Anyway, to restate again, I don’t see programs or outreach ministries in and of themselves as negative; it sounds like your church has a good grasp of it. I am always concerned for the discipleship of the family when there are too many activities that pull them apart. I’ve seen it over and over–Mom and Dad so busy ministering to others, that they lose their own. And sometimes each other. I don’t think any ministry effort can justify that.

We do only have one worship service, and if you read more carefully, I never stated that worship was the only purpose of meeting. I added that teaching and fellowship were a part of the believer’s call to assemble. At least that’s the Bible’s explanation.

I would never undermine the believer’s responsibility to reach out to the lost. I just think church, as I see it in Scripture, was for a different purpose.

Word Warrior July 23, 2008 - 8:09 pm

I would be interested if someone would give a bilical reference to the model of church being described as both outreach and equipping of the saints simultaneously.

I know a commonly quoted verse (the only one that I know of) is Paul’s “I have become all things to all people so that I might win some…”

However, I can’t find how this verse describes the church model.

Anonymous July 24, 2008 - 1:40 pm

As somebody (Katherine) just quoted, what about I Cor.14:24,25, “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” As the others have said here, the public worship service should have a dual purpose: that of reaching the lost (which we should all try to do, everywhere, not just in the public worship service), and of equipping the saints. As far as numbers go, the writer (Luke), in Acts 2:41, seemed excited that “…and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Also, Acts 5:14, “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” God apparently noticed the numbers, and had the Bible writer record them. BUT, I do agree with you that we should NEVER make our churches so seeker-friendly that we lower our standards to get believers in the door and to get “decisions”. That IS scary, as you have said. Surely, churches can do both: have integrity to the Word of God, plus reach out to the lost and be thrilled if multitudes come to Christ. I don’t know what to think about the idea of no Sunday School and other classes. All I know is that I would love to see it go out the window, because I hate being “roped” into teaching. But, that is selfish of me, and I know it. That is not a proper reason for me to wish it gone! Lots of churches use Sunday School, VBS, to evangelize children. For some children, this is all they get, either because their parents are not believers, but send their kids to SS, or they are believers, but do not do their jobs of teaching their own children. For some children, SS is all they get. YOU should never be pressured into sending your kids to different classes, if it is your wish that they remain with you, and I wouldn’t stay at a church that forced me to do something I didn’t feel right about doing. I was raised a Roman Catholic and went to Catholic school. Sunday School at our church was for kids who did not attend the Catholic school. The reasoning was that we (the Catholic school kids) got religious training at school during the week, and SS was for the kids who didn’t. That was just their way of doing it. The nuns taught it. IF I didn’t want my family split up, I would firmly say that I teach them at home during the week, and that I wish to keep them with me during adult SS and worship. (My children really enjoyed SS and youth group, so they went, and I think they learned so a lot. But we taught them at home, too. So, they got both.) It is a private choice. You should be able to do what you want to do concerning this.

Word Warrior July 24, 2008 - 2:36 pm

As folks ponder some of these things (Sunday school, etc.), possibly for the first time, you may or may not be interested to know about the origins of such classes. (Obviously these are relatively NEW practices compared to the NT model of the church.) I would challenge you to study the origin of Sunday school.

It always helps me to see the origins of something new, why it was established, etc., in determining how accurate it may be now.

Also, just to clarify, I didn’t mean to imply we didn’t care about people coming to Christ by saying we don’t worry about numbers; simply that far too often, we use numbers as a gage of ministry success, and try to play the Holy Spirit instead of simply preaching the Word (that’s all we’re given to do) and letting God work the hearts.

I for one “got saved” like a hundred million times growing up under all the high-pressure altar calls. I don’t picture this was going on in Paul’s day.

Anonymous July 25, 2008 - 10:09 pm

You sound like a ridiculously judgemental Pharisee. I pray my unsaved family and friends never bump into your church and find themselves so completely unwanted.

Carol May 7, 2009 - 6:40 pm

Wonderful food for thought for Bereans! There are always 2 basic responses to hard questions–thoughtful consideration by truth seekers with Bible in hand & defensive/offensive responses by those who already have their mind made up. Hoping to spark some discussion with it at church.


Leave a Comment

Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram

Post Category

motherhood/family/parenting Uncategorized christian living homeschooling pregnancy/birth control marriage frugal living/saving money large families public school abortion feminism dating/courtship church/children's ministry entrepreneur pictures

Author's Picks

Why We Should Encourage Our Kids to Marry Young 220 comments Two Children are a Heritage From the Lord (After That, You Should Know... 173 comments Population Control Through Tetanus Vaccine 127 comments

Latest posts

The Power of Gathering Around the Table: Beyond Hospitality 0 comment Weddings, Getting Older, Navigating a Large Family & God’s Goodness 33 comments Help My Friends Find Their Child Through Adoption 0 comment The Shocking Truth About Education 2 comments

Copyright ©2023 Generationcedar. All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by Duke